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“Memories and Imaginaries: Democratic Citizenship”

 

This citizen science project, funded by the FWF, in cooperation with Univ. Prof. Dr. Marina Gržinić (PI) and her research team (Dr. Jovita Pristovšek and Dr. Sophie Uitz) at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna investigates the imaginaries of Jewish, queer, and migrant citizen groups in post-Nazi Austria from 1945 until today, specifically imaginaries formed through memories: How are memories by Jewish, queer, and migrant communities manifested within majoritarian narratives of Austrian society? How do members of these communities position themselves in relation to broader hegemonic discourses on state and nationhood? To what extent are democratic counter-discourses performed in these communities? And how do they alter, challenge, or expand the construction of predominant historiographies and citizenship?

 

“Memories and Imaginaries” is aimed at fostering democratic citizenship and critical thinking at a young age by learning about and exploring the long historical trajectory of discrimination and marginalization (antisemitism, homophobia, racism, and xenophobia) and the almost protean qualities of its inherent structures from an intersectional perspective.

 

The project follows a novel approach combining citizen science with art-based research offering “Memory Labs” for high-school students during May-June 2022, in which the topic will be explored experientially, for instance, through rap-poetry, performative narration or material-based discussions. Each lab session will be documented in graphic recording by an artist and in shorthand typewriting by a stenograph.

 

On behalf of VWI, Dr. Mirjam Wilhelm will be involved in these “Memory Labs” as an expert with material originating from her research on ‘forgotten’ Jewish graphic artist Vjera Biller, whose life and artworks serve as an emblematic example of multiple marginalization: as a woman, as a woman artist, as a Jewish woman artist, as a homosexual, and, subsequently, an alleged ‘Geisteskranke’ under Nazi-persecution in Austria.

 

The project is listed for the OeAD’s Citizen Science Award 2022. Its outcomes will be disseminated via a designated book publication titled Erinnerung und Imaginäres combining the artistic lab-documentation as well as scholarly explorations of the topic.

 

Prof. Dr. Éva Kovács and Dr. Mirjam Wilhelm are responsible for the project at VWI.

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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:

 

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